Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fung Ling Shao Quan: Featuring Best of Everything

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fung Ling Shao Quan: Featuring Best of Everything

Article excerpt

SPRING weather is necessary to bring flowers into blossom, but no such prerequisite is needed for Chinese restaurants. They bloom early and often, almost constantly, and they replace one another much faster than, say, the redwoods.

Given my predilection for Asian cuisine, this situation is pleasing to me, though I must admit that too many Chinese restaurants in St. Louis have menus that are almost identical. At the same time, St. Louisans are not known as experimental diners, so maybe playing it safe is the right way to go.

If menus are similar, a restaurant must find another way to stand out, and Fung Ling Shao Quan, a recent arrival in the West County, certainly has achieved that. Two recent visits provided excellent meals, featuring high-quality ingredients prepared to the height of flavor and served piping hot. Like other Szechuan or Hunan restaurants, Fung Ling offers many hot and spicy dishes, and will adjust the spicing to the diner's taste.

The restaurant is attractive, the service smooth and prices are such that appetizer and dinner will usually be in the range of $10-$12 per person.

I was especially impressed with the vegetables, and Chinese restaurants usually offer a handful of vegetarian dishes. At some places, they include meat, so it's worth asking. I'm a great lover of eggplant, in any form or fashion, and the spicy eggplant with garlic sauce at Fung Ling was outstanding, with plenty of pepper and garlic. The eggplant was well-cooked and the dish worked beautifully. Even better, I think, were sauteed string beans, fresh and cooked enough beyond raw to retain texture and add flavor.

The beans came along as an addition to a whole steamed fish, a house specialty. It was a grouper, and it was wonderful, cooked with ginger and soy sauce and spices, plus a large amount of vegetables, sliced almost as thin as blades of grass. …

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